Three years ago Albert Pijoan (29) decided to live in Pozo Izquierdo, Gran Canaria to get as many days on the water as possible and improve his skills. “At the age of 18 I moved to Galicia to one day became a sea Captain. There I stopped windsurfing, surf was easier to manage, one board for all kind of conditions. After 10 years with not much windsurfing I simply took a windsurf board and a couple of sails and moved to Pozo Izquierdo and the game started again. Now I just basically think in windsurfing and never before I was doing it so much,” Albert told us.


The UK wave sailor Jamie Hancock put together a nice clip called “The Captain”  with action from Albert.  Albert: Jamie told me that it would be interesting to explain what I was doing in Pozo so we decided to do this short clip. Those days the wind was extremely shifty and gusty but we managed to get something and show a bit about the Training House.  During the whole winter I have been working a lot on certain points to improve it for the training routines. Now that it is done I want to show the clip which represents the possibilities of every single person who follows a goal, the hard work you need to achieve it, and that sometimes it is not enough but still you have to really go for it with all your mind.”


Spaniard Albert Pijoan in Pozo Izquierdo, Gran Canaria

© Footage: Jamie Hancock, Rebecca Ashton, Alfie Hart, PWA


Interview with Albert Pijoan

C7: Albert, please introduce yourself a little bit. Since when have you been windsurfing, where are you from and what drives you?

Albert Pijoan: I started windsurfing when I was around 8 years old in the Med sea at the Club Natació Badalona. I consider the club my second home, we had an incredible atmosphere when I was a child. There were really good racing windsurfers who put a lot of effort in making the sport grow there. My brother, Toni Pijoan, Lea Sitjà, Kiko Igual (Aerolite sail maker) and some other friend were all together pushing each other, windsurfing a lot from Aloha class to Mistral One design, then Formula windsurf, Funboard,… 

At the age of 18 I moved to Galicia to one day became a sea Captain. There I stopped windsurfing, surf was easier to manage, one board for all kind of conditions. After 10 years with not much windsurfing I simply took a windsurf board and a couple of sails and moved to Pozo Izquierdo and the game started again. Now I just basically think in windsurfing and never before I was doing it so much. 


C7: You are pretty much a new-comer in the wave competition scene. In 2011 you were placed in 48th position, but in 2012 you improved your ranking and finished the PWA event in Sylt with an amazing  9th place. What is the reason for that improvement?

Albert Pijoan: For me the competition is basically a backpack of motivation. It gives me the power to focus on a goal and the reason to keep pushing hard in every single session. Despite my competitive spirit I do not compete with the aim of a victory but to sail better while sailing with the best sailors. I would also say that last year I shared a lot of time with guys like Jamie Hancock, Ben Porffitt, John Skye, Alex Mussolini, Thomas Traversa. They are very experienced riders who were really kind to share many things that helped me a lot, each one in his way. BIG THANKS to all of them!


C7: Will you do the whole tour in 2013 and how will you prepare for the down-the-line events?

Albert Pijoan: I choose to live in Pozo Izquierdo because it gives you the chance of being ready for almost every kind of conditions. Last year I have been in South Africa twice and I enjoyed those conditions a lot, I feel really confident even in strong conditions. At the North Shore of Fuerteventura and Gran Canaria I caught really nice sessions but still I feel I should train more on those conditions. Let’s see if I am able to generate enough money to afford the travel costs to the new events on the PWA tour. 


C7: What’s your goal for 2013?

Albert Pijoan: In 2013 of course my aim is to do better and better as a competitor but mainly as a windsurfing sailor. Competition results are not always a reliable feedback of your work. I would like to do my best. I am focused a lot on the training period, follow my goals and work as hard as possible for my budget. Another point will be the sponsorship; I would really like to become part of a team, work in group, follow goals together, the training periods, traveling, developing, filming… this is part of the key to grow individually. To work alone is sometimes extremely hard.


C7: One of your goals is to make windsurfing more popular. 

Albert Pijoan: Yes, I do work a lot on it. I promote windsurfing a lot especially on young guys, new generations to enjoy it as much as possible. Our sport, as you know, requires a lot of time, money, motivation… If you focus on reducing the time of learning; teaching them, the investment they need; looking for the equipment they need, and helping the people to keep motivated on the sport, showing more about it, the result is at the next corner. 

This is a work that should come between the Companies/ Dealers and the Sailing Centers but somehow are still hard to link, at least here in my country. At the moment I do my best to give a hand to all the people, who want to windsurf through LPWS shop on the Canary Islands. We both share certain points of view so we work together to make the access to the sport easier between the Sailing School and the Shop. 


C7: What’s the reason that windsurfing is not so popular in Spain. Several world champions live and train in Spain!

Albert Pijoan: In Spain and the rest of the world windsurfing has been promoted just as a cool and radical sport. The country has awesome conditions as we are surrounded by seas and ocean, but the truth is that there is not much promotion for enjoying it as an everyday sport. Most of the Sailing Centers are based a lot more on sailing boats than windsurfing which sometimes is an exclusive part of them. 

After so many years as an instructor I am pretty sure that if Companies/ Dealers focus more on the local sailing clubs, sharing responsibilities for the sport, it will grow all around the country even inlands at the lake spots. Everyone has to contribute a bit more, starting with the Federations, Sailing Centers, and the sponsored riders who are usually more worried about publishing “cool” videos than making the sport more popular. 


C7: What makes windsurfing special for you? 

Albert Pijoan: If I was rich the only difference between what I do now and what I would do then would be my quiver and my trips. I would practice all disciplines constantly but wave sailing gives me an explosion of adrenaline that is exclusive of this discipline in windsurfing. The LPWS shop lends me a Starboard Phantom which I am happy to sail often. I love to stay on the water and no matter what I do there, slalom sailing is really technical concerning many aspects like the rigging, the masts, the fins… and freestyle also fascinates me;  both require my full attention on technical postures, the sail position, the weight control… it is really challenging.

A few days ago I was with the SUP and I saw 3 small sharks doing circles around my board for more than half an hour. These kinds of feelings are feedbacks from the sea that make me feel alive, and this is what I like most about this outdoor sport. 


C7: You moved to Pozo Izquierdo and are not a “real” local. How is it that? Are you accepted by the locals?

Albert Pijoan: This question sounds a little bit weird but it is not the first time that somebody asked me, so now I know why the people do it. The truth is that I have a really good relation with most of the local guys since the very beginning. I didn’t move there to make “friends” either, but of course like in any other place in the world you have to respect the people especially when you are not a local. After a while I know why the people ask it so often: the Pozo locals have a bad reputation, but this is something that is part of the past. From my point of view people are really friendly in town and the local sailors too. And I do connect with many of them even with the kiters.


C7: You live next to the water and you can start almost from your garage, right?

Albert Pijoan: Yes, the first thing I do in the morning is checking the conditions and then the forecast, but only if we do not have proper conditions in town. I feel so fortunate in this way. The house I live in is part of the training plan I follow. It was a goal achieved last year and of course it motivates me a lot, sometimes when I come back late from work I rig my equipment even for 20 minutes of sailing till it is completely dark. 

It has been really successful for me, and also the point of sharing the place with the people who come to town for training. Ben Proffit, last summer, filmed from the window most of the shoots of his Training diaries. Young windsurfers from Spain come for a couple of weeks and improve their level so much because the windsurfing atmosphere here is so intense. The house is like made especially for this and every single person who stays here appreciates it.


C7: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Albert Pijoan: Basically all my plans are related to windsurfing till the end of my possibilities as an athlete and as a professional. I want to achieve certain goals inside the windsurf community; improve my skills as a rider and develop technical elements of the equipment I use.Now is the 3rd summer I will spend in Pozo 100% focused on windsurfing and I can see a big progress in different ways since the beginning. I feel much more mature to grow professionally and I am looking forward to sharing the knowledge on the sport and keep growing with it. In 5 years I see myself doing more or less the same with more knowledge working from the inside of the windsurfing industry.


C7: We wish you good luck for the event in Pozo and your future! 

© 2013